Giorgia MelonicImage REUTERS

    After counting 95 percent of the votes, Fratelli d’Italia turned out to be the largest party with 26.4 percent on Monday morning. Figurehead Meloni is therefore on track to become the country’s first female prime minister. After her follows the center-left Partito Democratico at a distance, with 19.1 percent of the vote, a historic low for the party.

    Fratelli d’Italia is a distant descendant of Benito Mussolini’s fascist movement, but under Meloni he presents himself as a national conservative. The party owes much of its gains to choosing to be the sole seat of the opposition, while all other parties have been part of Mario Draghi’s national unity government for the past year and a half.

    The right-wing bloc of Fratelli d’Italia, Matteo Salvini’s Lega party and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia will reach a large majority of seats on Monday morning. This applies to both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, opening the way to a far-right government. However, the results of the Lega in particular (9 percent) are disappointing: the party has almost halved compared to 2018. Berlusconi’s party is also losing considerably, from about 14 percent then to 8 percent now.

    The Five Star Movement, which became the largest party in 2018 with 32 percent of the vote, this time got stuck at between 15.2 percent of the vote. The anti-establishment party did not emerge unscathed from the three different governments in which it sat in recent years, but in the end it did better than expected in the run-up to the elections.

    Left-wing Partito Democratico admits loss

    Italy’s main center-left party, the Partito Democratico, officially admitted its election defeat last night. The party said it sees itself as the main opposition party in the new parliament. “This is a sad night for the country,” Debora Serracchiani, a senior member of the Partito Democratico, said in a first official response to the expected election results. ‘The right gets a majority in parliament, but not in the country.’

    By this she was referring to the fact that the preliminary forecasts show that the right-wing alliance of figurehead Meloni appears to have reached about 43 percent of the vote for the time being. However, as a result of the complex Italian electoral system, this almost certainly translates into a large majority of the seats in parliament.

    Meloni has indicated that he wants to form a right-wing government after the victory of Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy). “The Italians have sent a clear message,” she said last night. She added that that government will work “for all Italians, with the aim of uniting the people”. She also spoke of a ‘night of pride’ and a ‘night of redemption’.

    Low turnout

    Turnout was just 63.9 percent, down 9 percentage points from the previous election in 2018, which also set a record low. In addition to low confidence in politics, it is also possible that the weather was very bad in southern Italy on Sunday.

    In the mixed Italian electoral system, one third of the seats are distributed via a majority system and two thirds proportionally. As a result, the more than 44 percent of the seats that the right-wing bloc has together, compared to between 26 percent for the left-wing coalition, almost certainly accounts for a majority in parliament.

    The exact distribution of the 600 seats (400 in the Chamber and 200 in the Senate, after a reduction by one third) will have to be counted until all votes have been counted, which is expected in the course of Monday morning.